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Mary Ourisman, Peter Dawkins

Jul 14, 2019

Mary Martin Ourisman and Brig. Gen. Peter Miller Dawkins were married July 9 in New York. The Rev. Dr. Robert S. Norris, a Presbyterian minister, performed the ceremony at the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church.

Mrs. Dawkins, 73, was the United States ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean from 2006 to 2009. She also was a fund-raiser in Washington, and is an emerita regent of the Smithsonian Institution and an emerita trustee of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. She graduated from the University of Texas.

She is a daughter of the late Aleen Hardin Martin and the late Dr. Herbert R. Martin, who lived together in Mexia, Tex. The bride’s father was a dentist and orthodontist in Mexia. Her mother was a teacher at the Mexia State School, which served people with developmental disabilities.

General Dawkins, 81, is a senior adviser to Virtu Financial, a New York trading technology company. He graduated from the United States Military Academy, received both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in philosophy, politics and economics from Oxford, where he was a Rhodes scholar, and received a doctoral degree in international politics from Princeton. At West Point, he was an All-American halfback and the 1958 recipient of the Heisman Trophy in college football.

From 1959 to 1983, he served in the Army, rising to the post of assistant division commander for operations at the 101st Airborne Division, which has its headquarters at Fort Campbell, Ky. He is a recipient of a Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Bronze Star for valor with Oak Leaf Cluster, and three Gallantry Crosses that were awarded by the Republic of Vietnam.

He is a son of the late Frances Miller Dawkins and the late Dr. Henry E. Dawkins, who lived together in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. The groom’s mother, who was a psychotherapist, worked with the University of Michigan on secondary-school education committees. His father was a dentist in Detroit, and had served in the South Pacific during World War II, attaining the rank of colonel in the Air Force Reserves at Selfridge Air Force Base in Harrison Township, Mich.

The bride, whose first marriage ended in divorce, was a widow, and the groom was a widower.

The couple met in February, when a close friend of hers who was married to a West Point classmate of his suggested that the two go together to an International Red Cross gala in West Palm Beach, Fla. She was a patron of the event, which was in tribute to the service of people in the military and their families.

After initially introducing himself to her on the telephone, General Dawkins said, “I wrote her a smart-aleck text message and she wrote a smart-aleck one back, and that started a dialogue that lasted for three or four weeks.”

He searched her name on the internet, he said, “But I never laid eyes on her until I was in black-tie going to the ball.”

Their attraction was instantaneous, and a month later, he proposed.

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